The One Thing
After reading this book I immediately began to reorganise my schedule, my activities and refocus my time and energy.
The concepts in the book brought together perfectly things that I was already implementing and working on after reading Start with WHY by Simon Sinek, Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr Stephen R. Covey.
Gary also mentions the 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch, which is one of my favourite books, explaining the Pareto Principle of unequal distribution.
The basic premise of the book is that we must focus on one thing at a time. That one thing must be the most important thing that by focusing all of our energy on it will cause all other tasks to either become easier or unnecessary.
To find out what that one most important thing is we must first map out our goals and the activities that are expected of us and which we currently spread our time between. We then use the 80/20 rule to find the 20% of activities that give us 80% of our results. We keep following this process until we are left with one final activity that by doing it gives the greatest results towards our goals.
The one thing question that we can ask ourselves in any given moment to make sure we are on track is as follows:
What is the One Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
Like in Eat That Frog where Brian Tracy says to eliminate those tasks that are not needed, delegate those which can be done equally as well or better by others and divide up the rest of your tasks into: Would be nice to do, should do and must do and making sure you focus on the biggest, ugliest task at hand first – Eat That Big Ugly Frog and the rest of your day will flow with much more ease.
When it comes to focus there is a BIG PICTURE: What is my one thing? (What is my WHY?) And there is a SMALL FOCUS: What’s my One Thing right now? (What is my biggest, ugliest frog?).
Gary proceeds to then discuss that you can use that question to find the most important task, the One Thing, in various areas of your life:
Like in 7 Habits… Gary says that it is still vital to find balance in your life and to give equal focus to those areas which are of importance to you, but not all at the same time. He means that rather than having a “work-Life Balance”, we should have a “Work-Life Counterbalance”.
To achieve extraordinary results you must focus a greater amount of time and energy into one area of your life at a time, which of course comes at the cost of time and energy elsewhere. To counterbalance this you must then refocus your time and energy into that other area, again at the cost of time and energy elsewhere, and so on.
If your goals don’t excite you and scare you then they are too small – Grant Cardone
When it comes to focus and time blocking which is a big part of the book, I would say that something that I find vital to time block for is Dr Covey’s 7th habit: Sharpening the Saw.
Imagine you are trying to cut down a tree. You put all your focus and energy into that One Thing, “Getting this tree cut”. You saw and saw until your hands are covered in blisters and your body is sweaty and exhausted.
It isn’t until you stop and take a break that you notice that your saw is blunt. With this new information you realise that any energy and work you put in before you sharpen your saw is futile.
Once you do stop, analyse and re-evaluate and take the steps needed to continue, only then are you able to proceed towards achieving greater results in far less time with much less resistance.
The same goes for any situation in life. We must at times take time for ourselves to meditate and ponder on the path we are on. How far have we come, are we still heading in the direction we want to go? Do we have all of the skills required to continue or do we perhaps need to re-focus our energy for a while so as to be able to continue towards our larger overall goals?
I block out time specifically for thinking about the past, analysing it and learning from it.
I also block out time to think about the future, what I want from it and what I need to do to create it in the way I wish for it to be.
By doing this I become a master of my own mind and my own time and am free to live in the present, focusing my energy on the most important task at hand, my One Thing.